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Google has responded to calls for greater transparency on click fraud by introducing a new tool for Adwords users that displays "invalid clicks".
Google business product manager Shuman Ghosemajumder explains: "The metrics of 'invalid clicks' and 'invalid clicks rate' will show virtually all the invalid clicks affecting an account."
This should provide advertisers with an overview of how Google is dealing with clicks already identified as possibly fraudulent, aka 'invalid', though for many marketers this might not be enough.
E-consultancy often hears complaints from Adwords users who want to see more information on 'clickers', information that Google will know (to one extent or another) but has not been prepared to share.
We have previously suggested that Google makes available data on IP addresses, even if it encrypts the actual address, to help advertisers better identify multiple clicks. Not that multiple clicks always add up to click fraud...
It is possible to investigate multiple visits by keeping a close eye on your web stats, though an integrated display within the Adwords system would simplify this for the masses.
At any rate, Google believes this will go some way towards showing advertisers that they are on top of click fraud: "These clicks are filtered in real-time by our systems before advertisers are charged for them. The resulting data will of course differ from one advertiser to the next."
And it doesn't stop there: "In addition, a much smaller number of invalid clicks may also be credited to advertisers’ accounts after-the-fact, as the result of a publisher being terminated from the AdSense program for invalid click activity. These will appear as account-level credits."
Estimates on the scale of click fraud range from low-single figures to more than 30% of clicks, depending on who you ask. Click fraud also varies by sector.